Tag: lemon tart

Cherry Lemon Tea Time Tart

Cherry Lemon Tart

I had a passionate discussion about ‘the best cherries’ with the owner of a vegetable shop in my neighborhood. He’s a kind and very hard working guy from Turkey who never seems to sleep. No matter what time I pass by his shop, the young man is always busy as a bee and he helped me out so many times when I needed a certain fruit or vegetable for a photo shoot that wasn’t in season. Calling his buddies from all over, he makes the impossible possible. He managed to bring red currants to my kitchen when everyone else laughed at me when I asked for the little berries weeks before their season. He always finds someone in Spain, Greece, or Turkey to make me happy and my photo shoot work. My private cooking follows the season but unfortunately, editorial schedules don’t.

So last week he told me that he has very good cherries at the moment, he praised their glossy beauty, but also their outstanding taste. He went even further and said that they are better than German cherries, which, in all respect, is quite a strong statement. In my eyes, I had the best cherries of my life in my granny Lisa’s garden and I don’t think that anything in the world is ever going to change that. Those fruits were not only packed with juices and flavour, but also with the most precious memories. And this is something I love about summer fruits. Take strawberries, blackberries, red or black currants, or cherries, almost everybody, at least in the northern hemisphere, seems to have childhood memories connected not only to these fruits but also to picking and eating them. And this is priceless, and also in a very beautiful way saved for a lifetime. For my vegetable man from Turkey, the Turkish cherries will always be the sweetest and juiciest and I understand why this is how he feels, and for me, the crop from Lisa’s garden used to beat every cherry in the world, because it was her tree – and I miss it.

When I tried my friends fruits at the shop, I had to admit that they were really good. So I bought a huge bag full of them, went straight home, and baked a cherry lemon tart. It’s a tea time classic in my kitchen and the sweet and sour filling can easily take a little summer-makeover – the cherries make it a bit sweeter and juicier. Next time I’ll make it with red currants, but they’ll have to be in season where I live.

Cherry Lemon Tart

 

Cherry Lemon Tart

Cherry Lemon Tart

Serves 6-8

For the pastry

flour 200g / 1 1/2 cups
granulated sugar 65g / 1/3 cup
a pinch of salt
butter, cold, 110g / 1/2 cup
organic egg yolks 2

For the lemon filling

organic eggs 2
organic egg yolks 2
heavy cream 100ml / 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons
crème fraîche or sour cream 3 tablespoons
granulated sugar 100g / 1/2 cup, plus 1-2 teaspoons for the topping
a pinch of salt
ground cardamom 1/4 teaspoon
freshly squeezed lemon juice 3 tablespoons
lemon zest 2 1/2 tablespoons, plus 1-2 teaspoons for the topping
cherries, with their pits, 20 (plus a few cherries for decoration, optional)

For the pastry, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the butter and use a knife to cut it into the flour until there are just small pieces left. Quickly rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until combined. Add the egg yolks, set the mixer to medium speed, and mix until crumbly. Form the dough into a thick disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and freeze for 12 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (conventional setting).

Roll the dough out between cling film and line a 23cm / 9″ tart pan (preferably loose-bottom) with the pastry. Prick with a fork and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until golden and crisp. Take the pan out of the oven and set aside.

Turn the oven down to 180°C / 350°F.

For the filling, in a large bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolks, heavy cream, crème fraîche, sugar, salt, and cardamom for about 2 minutes until well combined. Stir in the lemon juice and zest and mix well. Pour the lemon filling on top of the pre-baked pastry, spread the cherries in the filling, and carefully transfer the tart pan back to the oven. Sprinkle with a little sugar and bake for about 40 minutes or until set.

Let the tart cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with a little lemon zest and decorate with the remaining cherries (optional). Serve warm or cold.

Cherry Lemon Tart

 

Cherry Lemon Tart

 

Cherry Lemon Tart

 

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Lemon Crème Brûlée Tart and Malta’s Mdina Glass

Lemon Cème Brûlée Tart

My mother completely falls for design, be it in the form of furniture, porcelain, cutlery or architecture, she and the rest of my family are quite obsessed with pleasing the eye. In her house you find far more than one set of plates, she has them in bulk, in all forms, materials and colours used for different occasions and needs. She can talk about miniature porcelain birds and vase collections with such passion that even I (only sometimes) believe I might need an elegant sparrow on my table. We have a lot in common, but here we’re different, I’m a bit more of a minimalist and prefer my home clear and – compared to hers – empty; but our minds meet when it comes to handcrafted products. The art of dedicating a lifetime to a material and shaping it with respect to the highest standards of quality is more than just fascinating, it’s admirable.

When my mother came to visit us in Malta this summer we obviously had to hop into the little Mdina Glass shop in the country’s former capital. The glassware manufacturer offers different design series, as bright and colourful as the land they are made in, we loved it! We also spotted a collection that was new to me, textured glass in vibrant shades of green, blue, yellow and red. It was love at first sight when I saw the turquoise coloured bowls and glasses. So I made a decision, I wanted to go back to visit the company’s manufacturing halls. Last week, I had the chance to meet Mark at the Ta’ Qali Crafts village close to the city of Mdina and I had an insight into the beautiful art of making glassware.

Lemon Cème Brûlée Tart

Founded in 1968, Mdina Glass is a relatively young family run business. Although the actual craft seems like quite a male domain – there were only men at the 1400°C (2550°F ) oven – production and product development is in the hands of one of the daughters. It’s a story of success built on respect for the artisans who create the fragile products with their hands and mouth. Mdina Glass calls it the freedom of expression that can be found in every single piece – handmade and unique.

Inspired by such vibrancy, the hot oven’s fire and – of course – Malta, the land of the best lemons, I felt like a lemon crème brûlée tart. A smooth but slightly sour filling refined with cardamom and made with lots of citrus juice and zest, eggs and cream sits on a buttery shortcrust. Caramelized lemon slices made it look pretty before my blowtorch turned the sugar sprinkled on top into a thin, blistered crust. Heavenly!

A quick note: to save time, I didn’t prepare a crème brûlée that has to cool for hours, I mixed heavy cream with crème fraîche and eggs and baked the filling right on top of the pastry instead.

Lemon Cème Brûlée Tart

Lemon Crème Brûlée Tart

It’s easiest to bake the tart in a loose-bottom tart pan. You will need a blowtorch for the topping.

For a 23cm / 9″ tart pan you need

For the short crust base

flour 200g / 1 1/2 cups
granulated sugar 65g / 1/3 cup
a pinch of salt
butter, cold, 110g / 4 ounces
organic egg yolks 2

For the filling

organic eggs 2
organic egg yolks 2
heavy cream 100ml / 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons
crème fraîche or sour cream 3 tablespoons
granulated sugar 100g / 1/2 cup
a pinch of salt
a pinch of cardamom
freshly squeezed lemon juice 3 tablespoons
lemon zest 2 1/2 tablespoons

For the topping

small organic lemon, very thinly sliced
granulated sugar 4 tablespoons plus a few spoonfuls for the burnt topping
water 4 tablespoons

For the pastry, combine the flour with the sugar and salt. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and rub the butter into the flour until combined. Add the egg yolks and continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a thick disc, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 12 minutes.

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (top/ bottom heat).

Roll the dough out between cling film and line the tart pan with the flat pastry. Prick with a fork and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Take the pan out of the oven and set aside.

Turn the oven down to 180°C / 355°F and prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, egg yolks, heavy cream, crème fraîche, sugar, salt and cardamom with an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in the lemon juice and zest and continue mixing until well combined. Place the tart pan with the pre-baked pastry back into the oven and pour the lemon filling on top. Bake for about 25 minutes or until just set.

Prepare the caramelized lemon sliced while the tart is in the oven. In a wide pan, bring the sliced lemon, sugar and water to the boil and cook until soft and golden brown. This can take 6-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the lemon and the temperature, mind that it doesn’t burn. Pull the pan off the heat and arrange the caramelized fruit on top of the tart. Sprinkle with 1-3 tablespoons of sugar (depending on the desired sweetness) and brown the top gently with a blowtorch.

Lemon Cème Brûlée Tart

 

Lemon Cème Brûlée Tart

 

Lemon Cème Brûlée Tart

 

Lemon Cème Brûlée Tart

 

Lemon Cème Brûlée Tart

 

Lemon Cème Brûlée Tart

 

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